Buying David Austin Roses

 The deep red one is Othello.
David Austin Roses

What on earth could make an energetic, optimistic, recycling-mad, initiative-laden gardener go all sad and wistful? Hint. It's autumn. Second hint. She's been browsing online catalogues looking at new David Austin roses...

Oh dear. I pride myself on being a make-the-best-of-what-I've-got gardener. I try to garden without wasting either plants or money. I offer homes to abandoned, unwanted roses, I divide and multiply my perennials, I swap plants with my friends, I recycle... I do not drool over online nursery catalogues, and then go all droopy like a sunless (and joyless) Sedum Autumn Joy.

I blame David Austin and his English roses. Naturally I fell in love with them in my early gardening days, regularly stocking and restocking my garden with his treasures. There was a time when I wanted to grow absolutely every rose he'd created. That was before Heritage dropped its rusty leaves and went stark naked one mid-summer. I like to think that's when I first learn the meaning of rose-restraint.

 So pretty.
Mary Rose

For over ten years now I've deliberately kept myself in the dark, blissfully unaware of the latest releases. If I've acquired a new English rose it's been a rescue from the bargain bin, having lost its label, impossible to identify without checking for look-alikes. And, of course, serious rose nurseries have been off limits...

 A peachy rose.
Unknown David Austin

In Denial

Obviously while I've been in denial David Austin has been putting more and more (and better and better) roses on the market. Earlier this week I became sadly acquainted with some of them. I had a fairly decent excuse for searching the online nursery catalogue, as I needed to answer the following question: Was Sir Edmund Hillary a David Austin climbing rose?

Well, Sir Ed wasn't, but Claire Austin, Lady of Megginch, Lichfield Angel, Munstead Wood, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Skylark, Strawberry Hill, Tea Clipper, and Windermere were. And they all sounded gorgeous. These were some of the new (to me) varieties featured a nearby rose nursery's online list. And more. Oh dear, dear me. Am I supposed to be on a strict plants budget - or was that last month?

I'm aware that my humble English rose offerings are well behind the times. Mary Rose and Graham Thomas have stolen the limelight in my garden for years, followed closely by the fragrant oldies Sharifa Asma and Othello. These are fairly ancient, Austin-wise. My lovely David Austin roses are just so last millennium. In the year 2012 there is a new rose generation, and I need to keep up-to-date.

 A beautiful yellow.
Graham Thomas Roses

To Buy or Not To Buy...

To buy, or not to buy: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for the gardener to suffer
The anguish of not buying any new roses,
Or to take the wallet to the rose nursery,
And order absolutely all the David Austins?

Rose-restraint? Never heard of the term...